Category: Book Reviews


How Expert Principals Make Tough Decisions

Dionne V. McLaughlin’s process of continually directing the reader through the decision making process with guidance from 21 expert principals is what makes this book a useful tool for any novice or aspiring principal, says assistant principal Bret Olson.


Content Curation: Avoiding Info Overload

Steven W. Anderson’s brief book is filled with resources and links to help teachers and students find, evaluate, save and share valuable materials amid all the options. He details the use of Evernote, Diigo, and Pocket, says reviewer Laura Von Staden.


A Strategy to Structure Formative Assessment

Emphasizing that the most productive form of formative assessment is self-assessment by students and teachers, the authors apply these research-based ideas to the cultural change required to improve instruction at a school level, says administrator Brian Taylor.


How to Conference Well with Student Writers

Long-time middle grades teacher Mark Overmeyer brings his techniques for successful student writing conferences – one-on-one, peer, and small-group – to “Let’s Talk.” Drawing on the modeling Overmeyer provides, Tyler McBride plans to launch regular conferences this fall.

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Beyond Tech: Learning into the Future

“Future Wise: Educating Our Children for a Changing World” by David Perkins zeroes in on curriculum, pursuing “lifeworthy” learning pursuits, fresh approaches to content and less preoccupation with technology. Principal Matt Renwick likes Perkins’ flexible outlook on the “what” of teaching.

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Exploring Memoir Writing with Adolescents

Jake Wizner has done what few teachers would ever attempt – teach memoir writing to eighth graders. Reviewer Mary Langer Thompson admires the book for its use of models and plentiful prompts, Wizner’s ability to relate reading to writing, and his call for teachers to write too.


Close Reading for the Whole Class

Close Reading for the Whole Class is easy to follow and designed for “real life classrooms.” Research based and with practical lesson plans, the book takes the angst out of close reading. Great for individual or group study, says reviewer Linda Biondi.


History Hook: Ancient Writing on the Walls

Social studies classes are digging into primary sources, learning how to use historians’ methods. Toni Blackwell Rhodes offers medieval and ancient graffiti as an engaging primary source idea in her new book. MS teacher-reviewer Joanne Bell plans to apply the methods to other historical eras.